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Eugene Clifford, S, Tennessee State, Senior
Clifford, a 2010 Sports Network/Fathead.com Preseason All-American Third Team selection, has been a versatile playmaker for Tennessee State this season. The 2008 transfer from Ohio State led the Tigers with 83 tackles through the regular season, including 44 solo stops. He has been a disruptive force in coverage as well, intercepting four passes and breaking up another 10. In 2009, Clifford finished third on the team with 60 tackles and was named an All-Ohio Valley Conference first-team selection.


Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton, Senior
Ball carriers do not want to run anywhere close to where Ellis is on the line of scrimmage. That's because they might not get there. The mammoth Ellis, one of the bigger defenders in the FCS at 6-foot-5 and 340 pounds, totaled 15 tackles for loss in 2010, and only 2.0 were on sacks. He was second on the team with 94 tackles, including a season-high nine against Delaware State. He also forced a pair of fumbles and recovered two. Ellis was named to the Mid- Eastern Athletic Conference first team. Ellis spent two seasons, including one as a redshirt, at the University of South Carolina, making one start for coach Steve Spurrier.


Matt Evans, LB, New Hampshire, Sophomore
Matt Evans is only a sophomore, but he is playing like an old pro. Evans burst onto the scene in 2010 after registering only 13 tackles as a freshman in 2009. He finished the regular season with a team-high 135 tackles, including 69 solo spots to pace one of the best all-around defenses in the CAA. While clearly a sound tackler, Evans also has proven himself as a versatile playmaker. Evans finished second on the team in tackles for a loss (12) while also registering three sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a pair of interceptions.


Jabari Fletcher, DE, Appalachian State, Senior
Fletcher has added 30 pounds to the once lanky-frame he brought to Appalachian State, but as he became bigger and more powerful he retained his speed. Fletcher simply gets after quarterbacks. He had six sacks as a sophomore in 2008 and another 6.5 in 2009. He also led Appalachian State with 12.5 tackles for loss in 2008 before corralling 10.5 in 2009. Fletcher, who totaled 63 tackles last season, helped the Mountaineers reach the FCS semifinals and was a Southern Conference first-team selection. He will combine with Lanston Tanyi again as one of the more intimidating up-front combinations in the nation. Fletcher finished the 2010 regular season with 52 total tackles and seven quarterback sacks.


Kyle Glazier, LB, Western Illinois, Senior
Kyle Glazier led the Leathernecks in tackles in 2008, '09 and this season. He ended the 2010 regular season with a team-leading 137 tackles, 64 of which were solo stops. He also led the Leathernecks with 11.5 tackles for loss and was second on the playoff-bound with four sacks. The Missouri Valley Football Conference preseason first-team selection also corralled 21 tackles against South Dakota State. An intense competitor, Glazier has improved with each season, and led the team with 91 tackles in 2008 and 120 in 2009. Off the field, Glazier is highly decorated as well, and held the team's highest grade point average as a sophomore.


Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana, Junior
Johnson is one of the top cover cornerbacks in the FCS. He stepped into Montana's starting lineup as a true freshman in 2008 and earned All-Big Sky Conference honorable mention honors, although an injury cut his season short. He took his play to a higher level as a sophomore, making the conference first team while the Grizzlies were the national runners-up for the second straight season. He intercepted five passes and had 12 pass breakups. Tall, athletic and physical, Johnson made 31 solo stops among his 54 tackles. Although Montana failed to make the post-season, Johnson finished the year with 44 tackles, four interceptions and led the team with 11 passes defended and seven pass breakups.


Tyler Holmes, LB, Massachusetts, Junior
When a coach says a linebacker has a nose for the ball, he usually refers to the way a player tracks down ball carriers. Holmes does that for the Minutemen, but he also zeros in on balls in the air, as he has collected interceptions in three of UMass' first five games this season, including one in the late stages of a CAA Football victory over then-No. 4 William & Mary. Holmes also had 10 tackles against W&M, 11 against Michigan (when the Minutemen put a 42-37 scare into the Wolverines) and a career-high 18 against Towson State. He finished the season with five picks and five sacks to go along with his 110 tackles. As a sophomore in 2009, Holmes was eighth in the Football Championship Subdivision with 11 tackles per game and he added four interceptions and a team-high nine passes defended. A basketball point guard in high school, he has excellent instincts and vision.


Mario Kurn, DE, San Diego, Junior
San Diego head coach Ron Caragher says the Toreros could play Kurn at safety or linebacker, but they choose to maximize his athleticism coming out of the three-point stance. Offensive linemen aren't about to stop him. During the regular season, Kurn led the Football Championship Subdivision with 17 sacks, including 16 solos. He also ranked second nationally with 2.45 tackles for loss per game (27 overall). Overall, Kurn had 66 tackles, which doubled his total as a sophomore in 2009, and added seven quarterback hurries, five pass break-ups, five pass deflections and two forced fumbles. Kurn saved his best for last in San Diego's 29-15 win at Davidson. He totaled 7.5 tackles for loss, which was one half tackle shy of the FCS record. His 11-tackle performance included 3.5 sacks.


Mark LeGree, SS, Appalachian State, Senior
LeGree was a Buck Buchanan Award finalist in 2008 and 2009, finishing third and fifth, respectively, in the voting. He was named to The Sports Network All-America First Team in both seasons. As a sophomore in 2008, LeGree set an Appalachian State record and led the FCS with 10 interceptions. In 2009, he led the Southern Conference again in interceptions with seven. Using his instinctive ability, he added six pass breakups, one forced fumble and was in on 70 tackles, including 40 solos. The Mountaineers have a long history of outstanding defensive backs, but LeGree appears primed to move to the top of the list. He finished the 2010 campaign with five interceptions and 11 pass breakups.


Korey Lindsey, CB, Southern Illinois, Senior
The athletic Lindsey can shut down an opposing wide receiver or make a big hit on a tight end. He is a two-time selection on the All-Missouri Valley Football Conference First Team, picking off six passes in each of the last two seasons. He also earned a spot on The Sports Network All-America Third Team as a sophomore in 2008, and then on the second team as a junior in 2009. During his outstanding junior season, Lindsey had 63 tackles, including 39 solos, broke up four passes and forced one fumble. With 12 tackles and two interceptions against Youngstown State, he was named the national defensive player of the week.


Eric McBride, LB, Richmond, Senior
Two numbers have stood out during McBride's first three seasons: he has started all 43 games and has 327 career tackles. Of course, he would point to Richmond's 2008 FCS championship as the highlight, and he hopes to get the Spiders back to that level this season. He's been an All-CAA Football first- team selection in each of his three seasons, winning the defensive rookie of the year award as a redshirt freshman in 2007. In that season, McBride corralled a career-high 126 tackles. The athletic playmaker, who flies to the ball with his speed, had 108 tackles as a sophomore and 93 as a junior. He completed his 2010 season with 119 tackles, two picks and two fumble recoveries.


Ameet Pall, DE, Wofford, Junior
The best place to find Ameet Pall is in an opponent's backfield. The junior from Montreal has been an import that quarterbacks and running backs can't send back. Through Wofford's regular season, Pall had 19.5 tackles for a loss, including one in every game. His team-leading 47 tackles included 12.5 sacks, and he also had six quarterback hurries. He announced his big season with 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks in the Terriers' season-opening game against Football Bowl Subdivision opponent Ohio University, and then helped power the Southern Conference team into the Top 10. Pall had 6.5 tackles for a loss as a freshman in 2008 and eight as a junior in 2009.


Martin Parker, DT, Richmond, Senior
Parker was a Buck Buchanan Award finalist in 2009, finishing 13th in the voting. He enters his fourth season as a starter and is one of the more feared defensive linemen in the FCS. He is both athletic and quick for his 6-foot-3, 283-pound frame. As a redshirt junior in 2009, Parker was selected to The Sports Network All-America Second Team. He made an impressive 75 tackles, including 15.5 for losses (6.5 were sacks). He also had 10 quarterback hurries and forced a pair of fumbles. He made 15 starts for the 2008 Richmond squad that won the FCS title with one of the nation's top defensive lines. Parker finished the 2010 season with 96 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.


Brent Russell, NT, Georgia Southern, Sophomore
It won't be long before Georgia Southern will have to get a couple extra jerseys for Russell. Opponents are forced to hold him so much that against Elon one opposing lineman tore a gaping hole in Russell's jersey. He had to switch to a different number to finish the game. And finish opponents is what the redshirt sophomore does well. He is one of the more feared defensive linemen in the FCS, disrupting game plans to the point that opponents don't try to go up the middle against him. Russell finished the 2010 regular season with 53 tackles, including six sacks and 8.5 other tackles for losses totalling 14.5. He also had two pass breakups and a fumble recovery. As a redshirt freshman in 2009, he totaled 48 tackles, including 11 for losses and six for sacks. He also intercepted a pass and blocked three kicks while earning All-Southern Conference second-team honors.


J.C. Sherritt, LB, Eastern Washington, Senior
It's easy to think Sherritt's 170 tackles in 2009 are a misprint. And then you realize that, indeed, his sideline-to-sideline style led to the school-record total, which included 70 solo tackles. His 14.2 tackles per game paced the FCS and he finished second in the voting for the Buck Buchanan Award to James Madison defensive end Arthur Moats. Sherritt had at least 15 tackles in eight games, including 24 against Weber State - a performance that also featured his 36-yard interception return for a touchdown. For the season, Sherritt had 14 tackles for losses, four pass breakups, four fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. He was named to The Sports Network All-America First Team. His 2010 season was equally remarkable, as he finished with 125 stops, three interceptions and 2.5 sacks.


Bryce Smith, LB, Samford, Senior
Ball carriers rarely make it past Smith. The All-Southern Conference first- team standout averaged 7.2 solo tackles per game to lead the FCS in 2009. He totaled a team-high 102 tackles in his junior campaign despite missing one game due to injury. The consistent Smith had 11 tackles for losses, a team- high four interceptions, five pass breakups and he forced a fumble. He also led the Bulldogs in tackles (92, including 65 solo) and interceptions (five) as a sophomore in 2008. His coaches laud him for his leadership, and rightfully so. Samford hopes to sneak into the SoCon title race this season with Smith leading the defense. In 2010, the standout linebacker posted 129 tackles and a pair of sacks.


D.J. Smith, LB, Appalachian State, Senior
With his 122 tackles this season, Smith joined a select club in Appalachian State history, as he surpassed the 500 tackle plateau. Smith, who finished the regular season with 503 career stops, joined two-time Buck Buchanan Award winner Dexter Coakley (1995 and '96) as the second player in Appalachian State history to reach 500 tackles. He had 137 as a junior in 2009. He made plays all over the field for the 2009 FCS semifinalists with 14.5 tackles for losses, an interception, eight pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. Blending size, speed and instincts into the complete package at outside linebacker, he was named to The Sports Network All-America First Team.


James Vercammen, SS, Dayton, Senior
The "flyer" position at Dayton allows Vercammen to be a hybrid linebacker/safety. Only 5-foot-10, 192 pounds, he plays like a heat-seeking missile. The Flyers' defense is designed to put Vercammen in position to make plays, and he doesn't disappoint. His 2010 season finished with 100 total tackles, including 13.5 for losses. In addition, he posted 5.5 sacks and one interception. In 2009, he led the Pioneer Football League and was third in the FCS in tackles per game (12.2) - finishing with 134 overall, including 65 solos. He had six sacks among his 17 tackles for losses. He also had three pass breakups and three passes defensed. Vercammen, who more than doubled his tackles from 2008, was named to The Sports Network All- America Second Team.


Antoine Wilkinson, LB, Missouri State, Senior
In 2009, Wilkinson established himself as one of the best inside linebackers in the Missouri Valley Football Conference as well as in the entire FCS. The junior college transfer was named the MVFC Newcomer of the Year and earned All-MVFC First Team honors. His team-leading 113 tackles marked the first time since 2004 that a Missouri Valley defender hit the century mark. Wilkinson also led the team with eight pass breakups and was named the Bearcats' Defensive MVP for his efforts. This year, Wilkinson has lived in opponents' backfields, registering a team-leading eight tackles for a loss and five sacks.


Jabara Williams, LB, Stephen F. Austin, Senior
Williams, who brings size and speed to his linebacker spot, finished his fourth season as a starter with team-leading 401 career tackles through the 2010 regular season. He has helped turn a struggling program into a Southland Conference champion. As a freshman in 2007, he started three games at both running back and linebacker, and dominated Central Arkansas with 109 rushing yards and nine tackles - both team highs. He led the SLC with 132 tackles in 2008 and then lifted his all-around play for the Lumberjacks' improved defense in 2009. As he made The Sports Network All- America Second Team, Williams had 113 tackles, including 9.5 for losses, broke up seven passes, forced two fumbles and recovered one.

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